[WORLD] South Korean President Park Geun Hye visits Buckingham Palace

D-Bo, Nov. 6, 2013, 2:41 p.m.

South Korean President, Park Geun Hye received a warm welcome from Buckingham Palace on her visit to England.  Her stop is the second leg of her Europe trip.  Queen Elizabeth II rolled out “the works” for President Park in their first ever meeting. 

Queen Elizabeth personally escorted President Park to her suite at the Belgian Suite, before meeting for a dinner function that the Queen also allegedly chose the wine and food.  Approximately 170 guests joined their function. 

Park had been invited to the U.K. several times when she was a lawmaker but had been unable to accept due to political circumstances in Korea. The U.K. government apparently invited her just after she was elected president in December of last year. 

President Park presented the queen with traditional Korean nine-section food platter and ginseng and gave Prince Andrew a lacquer chest. The queen presented Park with a silver platter.  Queen Elizabeth II awarded Park the Grand Cross of the Order of Bath, which is the highest honor the U.K. presents to visiting heads of state. Former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were also recipients. 

On Tuesday morning, Park was taken from her hotel accompanied by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to Horse Guards Square, where she was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  The Korean national anthem was played as Park and the queen walked to an elevated platform amid a 41-gun salute.

Park and Prince Philip then inspected an honor guard. Introduced by the queen, Park shook hands with Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May.  Park then got in a carriage drawn by six white horses along with the queen and the duke, followed by other horse-drawn carriages with her official entourage and escorted by the Royal Horse Guards.  The parade passed south of the Queen's Garden and arrived at Buckingham Palace about 10 minutes later.

In the carriage, officials said Park recalled the queen's state visit to Korea in 1999 and pointed out that her current visit marks not only the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the U.K. but the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. She also congratulated the queen on the birth of her great-grandson George.

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